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vs. Quad City
When: 8 p.m. today
vs. Muskegon
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
at Dayton
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Radio: All games on 1190 AM

Komets lean on dominating ‘D’

Suddenly the only news is about what the Fort Wayne Komets fail to do.

You say the Komets got the better of the Port Huron Icehawks again Wednesday?

File that one right next to either “Dog Bites Man” or “Congress Fails To Act.”

You say the Icehawks scored three goals and outshot the Komets 33-29?

Stop the presses.

Stop ’em, because those two things are as rare as $2 gas these days – which is to say, virtually extinct. In a searing run that has now gone to 10 wins in their last 12 games, the Komets have given up more than two goals only four times. And they’ve been outshot only twice.

That says a lot about the offensive end, where the Komets have developed impressively itchy trigger fingers. But it says more about what’s going on at the other end, where Tim Haun and Nick Boucher continue to keep the door locked in goal, and the defense in front of them continues to be an everybody-in proposition.

“I think we’re just playing with more confidence and making simpler plays, and also knowing our forwards are there to cover for us,” says rookie defenseman Bobby Phillips. “I think that definitely helps.”

“Definitely have a lot of help from our forwards,” blueline-mate Danko Mironovic agrees. “A lot of the credit goes to the forwards for just coming back and helping us down low.”

That’s reflected in the final arbiter of defensive effectiveness, the plus/minus numbers. Phillips’ is plus-18. Mironovic’s is plus-15. Among the other regular defensemen, Kevin Bertram is plus-22, Frankie DeAngelis plus-21, Guy Dupuis plus-17 and Keith Rodger and Brandon Warner are plus-6.

Among the forwards, Colin Chaulk, P.C. Drouin, Leo Thomas, Matt Syroczynski and Konstantin Shafranov are all plus-13 or better.

A more subjective evaluation is how many rebounds and loose pucks the Komets are gobbling up in their own end, and how many players are throwing their bodies in front of shots when need be.

“Shot-blocking’s an intangible,” Komets coach Al Sims says. “When you have it, it makes a big difference in the game. Our guys are definitely getting in the road a lot.”

It’s all a matter of the calendar as much as anything else, everyone says.

“The college season is so much shorter, and I think I hit a wall there in the middle of the season,” Phillips says.

“It was just so hard to grind. And now it’s like, I know the playoffs are coming, so it’s almost inspirational.”

Mironovic agrees.

“We know that to win a championship again,” he says, “the defense has to do it.”